I love the baby stage. I love everything about it, the cuddles, the coos, the predictable schedule, the knowledge that you can provide all they need. It is a perfect fit for me.
The toddler stage... not the best fit for me. The mess, the attitude, the whining, the defiance, the unpredictable mood swings, the wildly released energy - just about drive me to the loony bin. I'm not saying that having a baby is all daisies and sunshine. Parenthood is hard, at any stage. A baby's cry can definitely grate on one's nerves. However, I feel that it is nothing compared to a toddler's screaming tantrum.
Palmer was just about the best baby I've known. He was always happy and always smiling. I know that he is still a good kid, and that his current behavior now is normal and it is conducive to the stage he is in. After all, he is two, and twos are known to be terrible. Yet, I can't help my own struggle with the toddler years. I feel that I am frustrated with him far more than I should be. Greg and I both find ourselves yelling at him, and we aren't yellers. When I was watching children at home, the mother of one of those children told me that her daughter said I never yelled at them, unlike their own mother. I remember at the time feeling really good about that. I remember feeling proud of myself that I could discipline with such kindness and control. Well, apparently I only have these superior parenting skills with other people's children, because lately I catch myself raising my voice far too often. He tests me over and over again. Most of the time I handle it well and set firm boundaries. Fairly often I lose patience and it shows. And every once in a while I just stare at him utterly bewildered, having no idea what to do.
Please don't get me wrong. I love my curious and energetic two year old more than words can describe. We have a lot of fun, and I love how quickly he is learning and growing. He cracks me up with his silly little mannerisms. I just wish I knew how to better deal with all too frequent rough patches that come along with these toddler years. Any advice out there? Please send it on my way.